I’d firstly like to thank Pat for his understanding of my withdrawal of my sponsorship with Bowsite. Covid was a hard slog for us all I’m just glad it’s mostly over and I can be back doing what I love! Sharing with the guys that follow along here is an added bonus which I thoroughly enjoy!
This season I’m catching up on mostly back logged clients, I had 16 guys booked pre covid which would be plenty for the season for me. With 6 being unvaccinated and another 2 cancelling my season is fairly small this year. The unvaccinated were not allowed into Australia until very recently so those few guys have been pushed back yet another year. I’ve got a couple busy weeks ahead but I will have a bit of help this year as my good friend Joey Efford (Effords Hunting Adventures) from Newfoundland has made the trip out to apprentice under me, I guess you could say.
After 3 long days on the road shortly before arriving at my concession we spotted a small group of buff one big cow and 2 bulls were of interest the best bull looking to be a 90 inch model. Upon arriving at the concession I was greeted with my first flat tire!! Looks to be repairable thankfully! The trip to grasshopper camp was the usual steady stream of buff at a rough estimate we saw no less then 100 buffalo and no more than 150 buff! Amongst them were some fantastic bulls 3 were certainly over 100 inches and another 12 or so that were solid first day shooter type bulls. I don’t like to stop and spook them so we just kept rolling but did manage one quick cell phone snap of a 100 class bull that has broken a bit off his right side so should go 97 or so a great bull in my books! We also saw 1 scrub bull that from a distance looked to have some good headgear!
The area is in a serious drought I’ve never seen such little water, Grasshopper camp is looking a bit sad with very little shade offered from trees and the pool down below nearly dry and very murky. However it is a better option then piggy piggy camp which is bone dry! despite that there is still a fair bit of grass which is good.
The pool below camp has a rather large croc slide and tracks I’m a bit unsure how fresh they are and a bit unsure how I feel about setting up my water system in the morning lol wish me or the apprentice luck!! Sitting by the fire here now at 8pm we can hear a mob of buffalo walking up the river bed coming for a night time drink it’s nice to listen to them as they are a bit curious towards our presence at their waterhole. Will keep you guys posted each week during my season.
Day 1 Later after writing last night we went and had a look at the croc and it appeared to be a 10ft salty we heard some unusual noises later on that sounded like him sliding on the rocks so hopefully he has vacated this pool. A few pigs wandered in for a drink in the dark too. Today consisted of a short morning walk just across the river to check out the back floodplain. My usual vantage tree had a solid bull standing under it he appeared very heavy but a bit in the short side, he never gave a front on view so I’m not sure exactly how big he was. There was a second bull off to his left and a bit further out that would have been in the low to mid 90s and beyond them were 20-30 other buffalo that I could see the backs of. There were likely other buff there too that I couldn’t see due to stopping short of where I wanted to. The rest of the day was spent setting up camp we got mostly everything done. Just before dark I thought I’d go check the closest swamp for pigs. Unfortunately it was bone dry which means pig hunting will be very tough this season it will be more by chance if we just stumble on them. We did see a mob of about 20 buff on the way there 1 really good low 90s bull that was heavy and wide moving cows around toward a waterhole. We didn’t view them from close as I didn’t want to spook any. Very excited for my first hunters to arrive!
Day 2 we finished camp setup cut some wood repaired the flat tire then went for a scout in the afternoon. The drive revealed 120-150 buffalo with at least 15 big shooter bulls, 6 brumbys, 3 pigs and a dingo got 1 photo of a nice low 90s bull. Hunters arriving tomorrow morning. Can’t wait to get at em!
Day 2 we finished camp setup cut some wood repaired the flat tire then went for a scout in the afternoon. The drive revealed 120-150 buffalo with at least 15 big shooter bulls, 6 brumbys, 3 pigs and a dingo got 1 photo of a nice low 90s bull. Hunters arriving tomorrow morning. Can’t wait to get at em!
Arrival day: we departed camp at 7am to give ample time to get to the airport for 11AM. I packed my .375 so that we could hunt our way to camp should we see anything of interest. Not having shot the rifle in over 12 months I needed to have a test shot. Unluckily a wild dog trotted down the dirt track in front of us so I thought I’d test the sights on that. I howled at the dog she pulled up broadside at about 100 yards and I flattened her. Safe to say the gun is on. Clients arrived slightly behind schedule we had a quick bite to eat at a cafe (which wasn’t very good) and we headed to camp we saw about 30 buffalo along the way to camp being mid day most of them were bedded near water under trees nothing of real interest. We got to camp around 2:30 shot a few arrows and we were on our way. We walked from camp about 1.5 miles and came upon a great bull I’m very familiar with that I have plenty of history with. He is very wise and always highly strung a very tough target but being a 100+ class bull he is worth the effort. He had about 20 cows with him and they were sort of separated we were able to get between them having a group 200 yards to our left and the other group 150 yards in front and slightly right I thought it may work out as they were feeding our way and the bull seemed to head back and fourth between groups. Long story short the gap with the bull closed to 110 yards and no closer we couldn’t move as there was not enough cover and too many buff so the old bull lives another day.
Day1: started and Wes has come down with a real bad cough uncontrollable so Beth with her crossbow will be the main focus leaving Wes either at the vehicle or several hundred yards behind. The first bull we spotted was the one from last night I watched him work a few cows around for 10-20 minutes but they didn’t seem relaxed so I decided to drive past. I found another good old low 90s bull feeding on his own with not much cover but was feeding into the now increasing wind. We closed the gap to 160 yards fairly easily just when we got to a shade tree a younger 80 inch bull spotted us and came to warn his mate. At the same time a group of cows fed in from the opposite direction we now had no chance. The two bulls ended up fighting in front of us the moved off and the cows fed past a couple hundred yards out. Just then from behind where the cows appeared stood a great bull feeding all on his own. We looped around and easily got to 100 yards he was feeding directly away into the stiff breeze this was an ideal situation. There was minimal cover but I still liked our chances. Timing my steps with his head movements we got into 39 yards Beth got setup on the sticks the bull quartered away but the angle was too steep. His leg went forward and he turned more broadside. I gave Beth the ok to shoot. Just as she was settled and squeezing the bull turned his head spotted us and bolted immediately. I can’t believe how close he was to being dead. I swear I could hear the trigger creeping on the crossbow. At the time I didn’t recognise him but he is a bull I’ve been after since 2016 he’s had a bad run in with another bull when he was younger and his bottom lip droops down revealing all his bottom front teeth. We call him droopy lip. In 2016 I put him at 96-97 inches I guess him now to be 104 minimum. I’m actually leaning closer to 108. I’ve been inside of 40 yards of this bull 10 times now and yet to get an arrow away. We retreated to the cruiser and toured along the track. We spotted another single bull sunning himself in the open country. He was a real old worn down bull scoring 88 approximately a fantastic bull in my books. We were able to use a tree to close the gap to 55 yards we hoped the bull would close the rest of the distance but the wind shifted just enough to put him on edge and watch him walk back to a dry creek bed. That was the end of our morning hunt. The afternoon plan was to sit a waterhole but on the way there we spotted a monster 110-115 buff we watched him bed in a pretty good spot we used the river and a small drainage to get to 100 yards we then had one decent tree between us that we straight lined to the bull we got to 45 yards about 4 yards from the tree there was a bush had I gone left or right around the bush the bull would spot us so I eased through it but he must have heard us as he stood from his bed offered no shot and vacated the area. We then went to check on the waterhole it was filled with buffalo approximately 50 cows and calves 1 dingo and a dozen pigs. We managed a longer 50 yards shot at an average sow but the hit was a touch high and we lost sight of her in the darkeness.
Day 2:the morning hunt was just one of those mornings where you’d spot a bull make a plan then it would all go to shit either other buff interfering wind switching etc. apart from seeing 4 good bulls we didn’t have much of a stalk. The evening hunt started where the morning left off on a flood plain where we had seen 3 good bulls at the end of the morning hunt. We were working along a creek bed when I spotted a bull downwind of us on the opposite side of where I anticipated to see buff. He was a good half mile away so we did the big loop around to get the wind right and closed into 300 yards. We were waiting on him to make a move into a more stackable spot when a large dog showed up out of nowhere trotting towards us. Wes was holding beths crossbow and was on the right side of the tree to shoot so I told him to get ready. As the dog was paralleling us I got a range at 55 yards I howled the dog stopped and Wes made a good shot the dog took off but went down in sight and we didn’t even spook the bull we were after! The bull started to move off and Beth and I followed unfortunately the good wind we had dropped out and the bull heard us following him we got down and he got curious and started to come in he got to 80 yards and the little wind we had swirled enough to send the bull running!
Day 3: the plan was to head to a new flood plain about half way there I saw a good old bull get chased out of the trees by a younger dominant bull. There were plenty of cows around it seemed like 2 seperate bunches. I thought we should try our luck on either of the bulls as they were distracted with eachother. After a slow stalk over open country we got to 130 yards from the old bull where he was standing offered no chance to get in closer so we waited and he walked back into the trees where the other bull and 20+ cows were. He was really cautious slowly walking back keeping his eye out for the dominant bull. To my suprise we were able to follow the bull across the open country without being spotted by the cows. We were now 80 yards off him with a good creek bed between us that if we crossed it we would be at 40 ish yards when the moment arose I took the first step to dash across the creek bed when the bull turned around and came back to us. He came past at 26 yards the arrow hit its mark in the top of the heart the bull went 28 yards and fell over dead in 5 seconds! After inspection the arrow despite hitting 1 rib made a complete pass through. After dealing with the cape for a shoulder mount we got out for a quick evening hunt with only an hour of light we spotted a bull from the truck and put a quick stalk on we closed into 34 yards and as Wes was drawing we got spotted and the bull took off
Day 4 the morning hunt proved to be a tough one. We hunted a new area and all we really came across was cows/calves. Late in the morning we came across a lone 90 inch bull on a waterhole. Wes and I slipped into 50 yards easily and could have gotten closer but there was a small hill between us and the bull so had we got to 20-30 yards we wouldn’t be able to see him. I opted to wait until the bull went in the water for a wallow he made the waters edge and there was a slight wind shift enough to alert the bull and send him on his way to safety. On the way back to camp we spotted 2 other lone bulls both mid 90s class we tried stalks on them both but as it was 12:30 or so the heat of the day had the wind all over the place and we didn’t get inside 100 yards on either bull. It was a good reminder why I don’t normally hunt past 10-11AM. The afternoon hunt was much a repeat of the morning hunt cows and calves in a area that has a spring but due to the drought even the spring was dry! On the way back to camp driving through some long grass we had a handy boar stand up out of his bed under a tree. He paused there at 40 yards thinking he was invisible long enough for a shot! That was the highlight for today!
Day 5: was a big tour day the plan was to hunt near camp In the morning then road hunt into the hot spring for a mid day swim. Following that we would go for a fish and then hunt our way back to camp. We spotted 2 shooter bulls by the first waterhole. One holding a dozen cows the other single. We used a dry creek to approach the single but he had moved off by the time we got to him. I checked the opposite side of the creek from where he was and sure enough he was out in the flood plain about a mile away already walking to his bedding area. So we started to chase we closed into about 150 yards inside the tree line now but got spotted by a seperate group of cows. The cows started running we got in some good cover and I started to call. The bull turned around and started to come. The cows also did too. In no time we had the lead cow at 14 yards and the bull hung up about 30 behind some scrub. After several minutes and by some miracle to cows not spooking the bull stepped into the open at 18 yards as Wes tried to draw they spooked they ran out 150 yards we moved forward to a big termite mound sat down and called again and they came back this time the bull was 34 yards but quartering on and never offered a shot before they all took off. Th rest of the drive we saw lots Of buff but not the shooters we were after. Just before the green swamp we spotted a good bull but he had several buff with him making him unapproachable so I drove past to go fishing instead. Fishing was slow apart from Wes hooking a big croc which he fought for a few minutes before busting off. About 4:30 we decided to start the afternoon hunt home. First up that bull was in the same spot and had no buddies with him. We parked the cruiser only 100 yards from him he seemed distracted by it but not bothered so I thought it could work to our advantage. Wes and I circled around and approached on a different line. The wind was swirling all over I felt we had a 10% chance this would work. We had to go barefoot and we managed to get into 54 yards but we had no real play from there. So we waited. The bull eyed the cruiser and would get whiffs of us as I felt the wind on the back of my neck, but with the cruiser in sight the bull thought that’s where the smell was coming from. After 30 minutes the bull decided to leave his spot. I figured he would head to water and we were on that trail. He came right to us 20 yards and turned broadside. I had a clear view of the bull but Wes didn’t. The bull spooked ran back a few steps and turned broadside at 26 yards Wes let an arrow fly the hit was marginal but great penetration right to the fletch. I watched the bull for a couple Minutes he was hurting pretty good but it was not a lung shot it was liver hit and there was no blood coming out of the arrow hole. With a setting sun I made the decision to shoot the bull rather then likely loose him. It was a bit disappointing as had the shot been 6 inches to the right or 4 inches higher it would have been a Perfect double lung.
Day 6 we took the morning off to finish up the buff cape. The afternoon Wes decided now he wanted a scrub bull despite passing up a slam dunk opportunity 2 days prior on an outstanding scrubber. As I tell all my clients stalk every mature buffalo you can cause most don’t pan out and if a scrub bull is on your list if they show up first best to take them then. For some reason guys think spending a bit of time on a scrub bull has to be after they get their buffalo. These guys usually don’t get a scrubber. So we went and sat the waterhole where the big scrubber was spotted 48 hours prior with no luck we did see 4 shooter buff from 85 to 102 approx scores. On the drive back to camp we passed a carcass that I strategically placed near a dry creek. Sure enough a few dogs were on the bait. The one male was good enough to hang around only 37 yards from the cruiser. That’s a big mistake when there is a crossbow inside!!
Day 7 we went to a fishing hole that’s quite remote. The track in was real rough but we eventually made it Wes managed to land 2 good barramundi 6-9pounds. That afternoon we went to look for a scrubber again we found what we thought was a good one way across a flood plain we got out to the bull and unfortunately his horns had been tipped therefore he was off limits. We made our way back to the cruiser as we had an hour or so left of light I wanted to check another waterhole but time only allowed for another likely flood plain. While driving we saw a couple decent but young buff and now Wes tells me he would shoot another buffalo in fact he wanted to shoot on of the young ones looking at us. I said if he wants to shoot another one we’re not shooting a youngster. I went to my anticipated flood plain and there stood a giant buff feeding into the wind all on his own. We put a quick stalk on him the wind was howling I got Wes in tight he had opted for the crossbow rather then his compound for this buff. I got the stick out we were 24.2 yards from the bull he quartered away then pivoted broadside Wes took the shot! Wes had told me they had lumenocks so I didn’t raise my binos for the shot as I expected an orange glow well I guess he didn’t have one on that specific arrow. I have no idea where it hit as the crossbow is so damn fast and the light was fairly low. There was no sound of ribs being split just a big soft sort of thump. I didn’t like the situation. The bull ran out to 100 yards stopped and looked. I couldn’t see the arrow hole or blood coming from the mouth. I gave Wes the benefit of the doubt that he had made a good shoot. The bull went to 200 yards and stopped under a tree. I still couldn’t see blood and it was now dark. My gut instinct said to shoot him with the .375 h&h but my heart wanted Wes to get a clean crossbow kill. Light faded and I couldn’t see the bull anymore we backed out.
Day 8. We went to where Wes had shot couldn’t find the arrow so I went to the tree he stood under and picked up blood. There was a reasonable amount for a buffalo and it appeared to be dripping out both sides. We followed the blood trail only 100 yards which was 300 yards total from the shot and it dried up. I’m pretty certain he’s just aimed too far behind the shoulder and liver/gut shot the bull which is exactly what he did on the first one. It’s a damn shame as it was a 100-102 class bull. I always say if you shoot a buff and he gets out of your sight your chance of recovery is about 1%. I should have gone with my gut feeling and rolled him with the h&h when I had the chance. Good ol hindsight. We searched the afternoon as well and came up fruitless a bit of a downer way to end a great week. This is archery buffalo hunting however.
What Tyler lacks in looks he makes up for in shooting ability. Hence the kids on the way
Gave up a NM antelope hunt this week and an AZ elk tag for September for this trip. Damnit! Had my bags packed with fly rods and a take-down longbow in the mix, just in case :-)
I was thinking about how to slip in a buff hunt with Tyler while over there… Good to hear he is back up and running!
Might just be able to get a bucket list hunt thrown in with a business trip!
Day 2 a short drive revealed a decent bull with 3 cows. In the area I planned to hunt. We parked the cruiser downwind and went for a closer look I estimated the bull to be a younger bull but had a good set of horns around the 92 inch mark. After a bit of cat and mouse while trying to close the gap to 50-80 yards Preston and I got busted by a cow. We had reasonable cover and got low quick so I started to call. In an instant the bull charged in. I was about 5 yards in front of Preston the bull was coming in on my right I told him to draw 3 times but he didnt. The bull was now 8 yards from me and 13-14 from Preston who was not drawn. The bull spooked after a few moments and Preston now drew the bull Stopped quartering away at 37 and he let on fly the bull turned at the shot and the arrow slipped between the shoulder and ribs we spent the next 4 hours trying to get in on the bull again closest we got was 160 yards and offered me no rifle shot. He will likely live but I don’t like to loose them after a poor archery shot. Dan and his hunters saw mostly cows and calves and had a close encounter with a dingo which somehow escaped unscathed. We battled high humidity and swirling winds today during the afternoon hunt I spotted 5 bulls 4 were shooters but only 1 that appeared to be workable. The bull fed along a creek with the wind blowing from him to us. We got in the creek in position and waited for the bull. As the bull got to 100 yards the wind dropped out he winded us and the gig was up. Dan had similar issues with wind the stumbled on a mob of 30 pigs and from what I gathered from the hunter the pig “jumped string”. they did get into a smaller bull for a bit of fun Dan hung back a bit and sent Wadi in on his own the bull was a younger bull maybe 80 inches. I guess as the hunter got closer he decided it was big enough for him. I guess he also decided 60 yards was close enough too. He let one go the animal stepped forward and he shot the bull right in front of the rear shoulder. Dan managed to get 1 round in the bull as it ran off just on dark. I think chance of recovery is 1%. I was not impressed with the hunter as I’ve told them inside 30 yards is the goal. A very frustrating few days.
Day 3 Dan and Wadi went searching for their bull they followed blood for a bit over a mile then lost the trail. I went for a long walk battling swirling winds. Saw 20 or so cows 2 bulls but both busted us and 1 big scrubber I nicknamed big red years ago. I think he is the biggest bull on the place at the moment. During the afternoon hunt Dan and Wadi got onto a good bull they got into 35 yards but the hunter got busted drawing the bow unfortunately. I worked a massive group of buffalo that were working into a water hole. I saw 3 different bulls but was impossible to make a play. Buffalo eyesight is very poor in low light so I waited for sunset to make a play. I got within 150 yards then called a good bull to us at 40 yards van made a decent shot the bull was dying but light was fading we opted to tip him over with the .416 to secure him for good. He looks to be a solid 94 inch model with lovely points.
Day4 Preston and Dan had a good stalk in a bull they saw go to water. They crept over the bank thinking the bull would be below but he had only had a quick drink and re appeared 50 yards from them and offered no option to get closer. I explored some brand new country saw some scrub bulls and a few young buff. The country looked good except I think it was a bit quiet due to the drought. I’ll be back sometime. The afternoon hunt started after leaving the hot spring we cruised back to camp slowly after a fair ways we spotted a lone bull bedded. I drove well past him to get the wind right. We stalked back and he was a small bull only about 70-75 but Wadi wanted to shoot it as he is not trophy hunting. We stalked to 150 yards. I removed my shoes as it’s quick and easy for me and helps keep the approach of 2 guys a lot quieter. In some circumstances I’ll ask client to take their boots off but we had good wind so wasn’t worried about Wadi’s boots. The bull fed away so I sped across a 40 yard stretch of sun to make the next shadow. I made it to the tree and stopped just in time as the bull turned quartering away. This is when they will bust you. All Of a sudden the bull jerks his head up and is looking past me and now the wind has slacked off a bit I hear foot steps approaching Wayne I guess decided to take his boots off even though I hadn’t told him to the proceeds to catch up to me while the buff was quartering away and he got spotted immediately. I sat down and signaled for the hunted to do the same. I called at the bull and he came in to 25 yards. He spooked then came back in the 37 but was front on the hunter wanted to shoot so I let him. His shot was about 18 inches high in the neck. Blood sprayed out as the bull ran off. Initially I thought it was jugular There was a real good blood trail we followed the bull 400 yards but he never offered me a rifle shot apart from up the ass. With good blood we backed out and gave him a bit over an hour and took up the trail. About 100 yards after where we had last seen the bull go into the thick scrub we saw some crows and whistling kites take off. A moment later the bull sprung to his feet and took off. We backed out again. Preston and Dan spotted a real good bull from the road they stalked back to him but were not cautious enough. The bull stood in some thick brush and awaited them. When they finally spotted the bull 65 yards away the bull had their number!
Day 5 I headed back to take up the blood trail. Where we jumped the bull the blood got sparse but the running track was fairly easy to follow. 200 yards later we came across the bull dead thankfully! On our way back to camp we had a thumper old bull walk across the road in front of us 30 yards away and did not worry about the cruiser. Dan and Preston had a slow morning apart from a stalk on a couple scrub bulls. The afternoon I took Preston out we had 2 good stalks on low 90 Inch buff that were spoiled by inconsistent winds. We saw 5 shooter bulls but luck was not on our side. The drive back to camp I swung past a carcass and sure enough a good boar stood there. It was nearly dark we snuck into 25 yards quickly the pig spotted us and turned to face us. I told Preston to just shoot for centre of mass and whack he brain shot the boar. A skinny old boar with great tusks despite 1 side being a bit broken off.
Day 6 lucky last day for Preston hopefully….. despite being the last day we didn’t rush out of camp. There was not much for wind and I was feeling with all day on my side we would secure a bull!! A confident statement I know. I packed lunch extra fuel, spare tire, and 15 Litres of water we set off around 7:30AM. First up we spotted a young bull around 75. His stupidity had me temped to kill him as he approached the cruiser but I couldn’t drop the standard. Next up a big boar stood alongside the road Preston having taken a solid boar the night before I didn’t even slow down for a look. We were approaching the last flood plain before the tree line and I could just see a bulls ass disappearing in the scrub I shut the cruiser off and told Preston grab his bow leave the pack I grabbed the h&h and we took off running after the bull that was a half mile ahead of us feeding/walking away. We closed the gap reasonably quick and I was happy with our position following the bull. He entered a bit of cover so I put the burners on and cruised right in the wind picked up just at the right time while walking fast I ranged him at 82 and just started counting each step as we closed in when I figured we were 30 I stopped and ranged again he was 36 I told Preston to draw as the bull had just spied us out of his peripheral vision. Preston hesitated slightly on the draw I think his bow sling was in the way a bit. the bull turned broadside and Preston just drew. The bull turned now slight quartering to he let the arrow fly regardless of the less then ideal angle. He hit the back of the scapula and penetration lacked. The bull spun and I let the h&h bark I broke a rear leg as he dropped into the dry creek as he was coming up the bank on the other side I gave him another but the angle was steep quartering away. We rushed into the struggling bull and Preston sent a final double lung arrow into the bull securing him then and there. We were both stoked with the quick hunt and he’s a cracker old bull to boot! Since we had only been gone from camp for 25 minutes we did a full autopsy and took tenderloins for lunch and back straps for future feeds! Dan and van and Wadi went back to where van hit his 100+inch buff on day 1 as they covered ground in the dry river bed they smelt a stink and searched the area to come up on a bull dead in the bottom of the river! Van was so excited to have recovered his bull. Dan was very confused as the bull was nowhere near the 100 inch mark but just figured I had a bad day at the office and misjudged the bull. Then van noticed an arrow in the guys of the bull…. It was wadis bull an 85 inch model that was shot 3kms from this spot and was blood trailed headed in the opposite direction 4.5kms from where they found the bull. Absolute total fluke dumb luck 1 in a million scenario. Super happy to recover 1 of the buff but I was really hoping to find the 100+. We got back to camp and the action had been hot at camp too. Joey while shooting a few arrows at the range had a wild dog stroll between him and the target. The dog pulled up at 17 yards steep quartering away and Joey let him have it shooting my bow! He was stoked to get his first Aussie animal!
Tally for the week was 4 buff 93,92,85,83 2 buff lost, 1 scrub bull 57SCI, 2 pigs and a dog!
Day 1 we had a good morning hunt seeing 6 shooter bulls and about 50 cows/calves and hound bulls. We had 1 really good stalk closing into 26 yards of a bull that had just stood up from his bed we got in position to shoot him between these 2 trees in front of us. Just as Ken was getting settled in the bull moved and blocked his vitals. With one of the trees Ken had to move left and the bull busted out of there he was a nice 92 ish inch model. The evening hunt we went to a waterhole I had sent Dan to last week with not much luck. I always kill a couple animals each season in this area so had to have a look for myself. As I got to the waterhole buff appeared everywhere so did some scrub bulls. A bull left the water and pushed some cows up the ravine in front of us. Ken and I rushed in but could only get to 45 yards as we had to cross the ravine and there were 3 cows in the bottom the bull kept moving fast and we never got a good chance at him. One of the cows in the bottom however was a 95 inch and headed our way. I ranged her at 37 and said to ken to shoot when she cleared the small tree in front of us she got to the small tree turned 90 degrees and walked away. Tough luck. We worked our way back towards the truck hoping to find the bull from 20 minutes earlier after covering about a mile I spotted the group of buff. However the bull that was with them now was much larger a 95-100 inch bull we closed the gap as light faded but a few cows picked us up when we were 50 yards behind the bull and that wrapped up our day.
Day1 I headed to a rocky ridge between the flood plains and river that we use for a lookout. From the top we could see 7 bulls 4 of which were shooters. The first bull we closed in on was an old broomed bull we watched him sunning himself for about an hour then he bedded perfectly for a stalk. He had his head turned away and was quartering away. The area severely lacked cover but his body was covering his vision. Just as we started to close the gap the bull straightened his head out and we couldn’t move. I kept angling to the right when he would turn his head away but he kept straightening his head which exposed us. We managed to get to 55 yards before the wind shifted and he blew out of there. No worries as we had walked past a 90 inch younger bull on the way so we sat on him as he appeared to want to come to the waterhole we were at. He came into 65 yards and the wind swirled and he was gone too. That wrapped our morning up. The wind picked up for the afternoon I was feeling hopeful just seemed lick was not on our side. We saw 3 good shooter bulls but not in good spots for stalks. we saw herds of buff they were pouring out of the river on dark it was awesome to see. We saw about 100-120 animals total. The wind is meant to blow hard the next few days so should be in for some good action.
Day2 I headed to an unhunted area with hopes of getting a bull down with the forecasted wind. We saw several buff early on as well as 20 or so pigs but Terry wasn’t interested in hogs. Then we found a bachelor mob of bulls the biggest being around 90 inches, we tried to get him. The fed into awesome cover but as buff seem to do the one we wanted was beyond the younger bulls we couldn’t make a play. We watched for about an hour then the big bull walked away and over a ridge. We circled but never saw him again. We continued on swing lots of younger bulls and cows/calves. Eventually just after crossing a dry creek stood a great wide mid 90s bull and a smaller mid 80s model with him in an ideal spot for a stalk. We drove past getting the wind right and hunted our way back. We located the duo feeding into thicker cover. Everything went perfect. Lots of cover and shade, wind blowing strong in our face, bulls feeding away, bigger bull closer to us, and buffalo pad leading straight to them. I ranged 43 yards and made a final dash. Initially I planned to get to a tree 14 yards off the bull but it didn’t quite work out when the smaller bull saw me. I told Terry to draw he did. The big bull turned broadside he was 28 yards Terry shot and hit him on the front edge of the scapula about 12 inches to the right of where he needed to be. Due to thick cover I had no shot at the bull. I took off after them the big guy never slowed down. I maintained pace running about 2kms with them lagging 500-600 yards behind. They hit a flood plain and I had to let them cross the open country before I chased again. I set off after them after a 30 second rest but I was done in by a thorn in my foot as I was barefoot lol. I lost sight of the bulls, we followed tracks for a bit but lost those after a short while. It was a downer. It was now mid day so we relaxed a bit then hunted the afternoon. We saw several good bulls but all with cows and we couldn’t get on them.
Day 3 we checked the flood plain across the river from camp it was full of buff. I counted 97 buff not including the dozen or so in the trees! 4 big shooter bulls were amongst them rutting away, was cool to watch but I left the mob shortly after as they were not leaving the open country anytime soon. We spent the rest of the morning on search of a single bull or small mob to stalk but had no luck. Only saw large groups or younger bulls. The afternoon I had planned to go to a waterhole I’ve only been to once a couple weeks ago. But I didn’t make it there when I saw a 105+ bull working 8 cows in reasonable cover. It appeared the situation could pan out but as soon as we started the approach animals stopped feeding and they were all facing different directions. I wanted to pull the pin but that big bull had me committed. An hour and a half later the wind swirled and it was all over. We walked back to the cruiser when Terry told me he had dropped an arrow by the tree we were sitting at so I went back and got that. We had minimal daylight left so I thought I’d go for a quick cruise on the plains. Saw 3 shooter bulls 1 was workable but with little daylight I decided to chase the boar that was feeding 200 yards away instead. I got Terry into 28 yards the boat squared up dead nuts broadside he shot and the arrow hit 16 inches to the right and went clean through the gut bag! The boar didn’t react too much Terry put another arrow on and at 32 yards he shot left 8 inches and low 4 inches missing the front of the boars chest and he took off into grasshopper creek….
Day4 we went to one of the lookout hills but before we could get there we spotted a scrub bull and a dozen buff. We stalked in as they were in long grass and I couldn’t judge what was there. It was cows and calves they busted us and ran to where we wanted to go so we changed plans and headed to grasshopper creek. I spotted a group of a dozen buff with a good bull in the mix. We started across the floodplain and were halfway there when out of the creek came 2 freight train bulls redbull was one of them the other I didn’t recognise but was pushing the 100 mark they walked downwind of us about 300 yards away but didn’t seem to be bothered. Then a third big stomper comes out behind us and passes by downwind at 200 yards with no reaction. It was strange behaviour. During this episode I spotted a lone bull at the back of the plain so I changed plans again to target him. Turns out he had a buddy both bulls in the low to mid 90s. We were waiting for them to get in the trees when the wind swirled and one bull smelt us. They both departed into the trees but I kept on the bull that didn’t smell us. Followed him for 2kms and got into 40 yards when we got busted. Was a good close encounter! We continued driving south the head in for a mid day swim. We spotted a young high 80 class bull from the truck we had several close calls with him in thick cover calling him in playing cat and mouse but Terry never got a good shot opportunity due to dense cover although we had the bull inside 30 yards 4 times. We saw 1 other big bull on the way but mid day winds swirled and that was that. The afternoon hunt we got into position to intercept a group of 70-80 buffalo mostly cows and calves. We sat in this shady low ground spot for about 30 minutes before buff started to get close. I saw 1 good bull at the back of the mob but he headed a different direction to the rest which we’re headed right to us. We were covered up in buffalo. At 1 point we had 40 buffalo inside 50 yards the closest ones were 3 yards away sniffing the end of the .416 barrel! Out of the corner of my eye I could see a huge cow approaching as she was intrigued by the 4 cows that were sniffing the gun barrel this big cow came right in to 22 yards broadside. I turned to tell Terry to draw and shoot her as she was a high 90s model cow and had no calf at foot to my disbelief he didn’t even have an arrow on the string so with the extra time and added movement he did not get a shot at the cow. They were still curious and an 80 inch bull was in the 32-40 yard range several times but I didn’t feel like it was a good shot so didn’t let Terry shoot. That wrapped up the day.
Day 5 I decided to try my luck going to the lookout hill again. The same scrub bull was in the way. Terry was not interested in him so I drove past him couple hundred yards later stood a great mid 90 buff bull I drove right towards him as he had us pegged already so I thought maybe Terry could step out and shoot him. Joey got an arrow from terrys cat quiver in the back and passed me the .416. The bull didn’t seem to be bothered. I told Terry to jump out and shoot him he was broadside at 31 yards. He then had to find his release in his pocket then got out slowly knocked his arrow and clipped his release on the bull had walked out to 60 by now so it was game over. We went up the hill and spotted a single way out on the plain. We walked the couple kms to his vicinity he was a really old poor condition bull with heavy broomed horns. These are my favourite animals to hunt! We sat off the bull 600 yards to not have a swirling wind screw us. The bull was feeding in the wide open with the wind blowing up his rear we couldn’t make a play but I felt our chances were high on this bull as his condition was so poor all he could think about was feeding to stay alive. We watched him for 3 hours when finally be bedded. I swung around to get his body position right for a bedded quartering away shot we had a good 30km crosswind and away we went. We took our shoes off just to give us that little extra edge even though there was plenty of wind. We got to 28 yards Terry drew and drilled him right in the pre determined spot the arrow hit both lungs and stopped in the opposite shoulder the bull jumped up ran 3 steps and looked to see what hit him. He saw us started huffing dropped his head and was in full charge. I shouldered the .416 and charged back with a 400 grain solid hitting him through the head/base of horn through a bit of neck and breaking one front leg. He kept coming the second shot he had his head lower so I was able to spine him he fell 17 yards from us. He was still alive so Terry whacked another arrow through his lungs to end things quicker for the old fella. He had no teeth left and was blind in 1 eye. A true old battler bull that went out in a good battle! This is the first charge I’ve had from a bull that had just been arrowed. I was charged by a bull a few years back that had several bullets in him and an arrow and I had been pressing him for several hours so was thinking he was likely to charge. There was one other bull that c5ken shot that lived by the house he was old and cranky he would charge the land cruiser those are my only charge encounters. Todays charge was hectic one I won’t forget.
Day 6 Terry decided he would try for a third bull he was looking for a “pretty” bull to pair with his old broomer! We set off across the plains and I thought I would go to a stack of old hay bales by the cattle yards that I’ve been using as a look out. As we passed the waterhole where Terry gut shot his pig 2.5 days prior I saw a boar laying on the waters edge that looked dead or sick. So we stalked back. The pig was alive but didn’t look well I figured it was his gut shot boar. We got to 19 yards and shot him, well we shot him a few more times. Turns out I was right it was the same boar so was good to put him to sleep. Terry was now out of arrows. I climbed the bales and saw 2 good bulls out feeding. We rushed back to camp for more arrows then headed back after the 2 bulls but we bumped into a mid/high 90s pretty bull with both horns sporting nice tips so we went after him instead. After a long wait for him to get in a spot where we could approach we closed in hard and fast. We got to 42 yards there was a tree 14 yards closer to the bull I intended to get to and shoot from but he caught movement out of the corner of his eye and that pretty bull was pretty smart and fast too he was gone like lightning! We had 1 good stalk that afternoon on 2 90 inch bulls that were roaming together. We got to 55 yards and ran out of cover. Terry shifted his weight when one of the bull had his head up and the noisy grass gave up our position. That was a wrap to his hunt!
Day 1 we went and had a quick look for a 1 horned scrub bull we had seen with Terry a couple times but Terry was not interested in. Joey was very keen on a scrub bull particularly this bull as he was old past his prime and very unique. We didn’t see the bull but found a solid buff around 96 that we had a stalk on. We used the river as cover to get the wind right and approach him unfortunately he was on the same page as us as I crept up the river bank to see where he was he had moved down stream and we met where to eye at 30 yards and offered no shot. I wanted to take Joey to an area that is not accessible by vehicle. It’s a place for young clients or guys who only want European mounts as it’s a long walk in and out of there. About half way to the secluded floodplain we spotted a good old lone bull he was straight horned and slightly broomed probably around 92 . The wind was swirling so we just went for it. We only made it to about 80 yards before he got our scent. Had we stayed put the outcome would have been the same. We carried on and finally arrived at the plain and we’re greeted by 12 cows and calves the largest cow being a big 95 inch model and tucked off to the side of them was a cracker of a bull at approximately 104. We had no play so we observed from about 300 yards when the wind swirled and they took off. We followed them for a fair ways and closed in to 150 yards in them but they were too alert to get in bow range. We headed back to the cruiser and drove the short distance to camp. On the way I spotted a good bull bedded. We put a great stalk on him. His body position wasn’t perfect for a bedded stalk/shot but I figured we would try it anyway. We managed to get to 34 yards and as Joey started to draw the bull turned his head and spotted us! He took off across the plains. He was a beauty bull. In the 92-94 range with a tight curl and long points! Our afternoon plans went to shit when a half mile from camp we spotted the 1 horn scrubber that Joey was keen on. We stalked into 150 yards of him but really didn’t have a play as he fed broadside to us we waited for over an hour then a mob of buffalo came out of nowhere right to us and spoiled it all. I said to Joey that scrub bull is going to die before it’s dark. The bull was so old and sick and he moved off with the buffalo he actually fell over it appeared his hips were giving out. We walked back to the cruiser as much as it’s not quite the hunt we were hoping for we had to deck this old bull. We raced back to where he was and I drove up to 30 yards of the bull he ran at first and then stopped Joey got out and drew the bull started to run as Joey shot and the hit was way too far back in the rear leg. We ran after him he was at a fast walk. We ran about 500 yards down the river and popped back up the bull was 40 yards Joey got a second arrow in him a bit low but the line was good. We dropped in the river again running for another 200 yards and popped up to see the bulls pace very slow we got to 30 and Joey sent one through the lungs and the bull toppled over shortly after. The bull was in very poor condition with no teeth left it was good to put an end to his suffering. Although the bull really only has 1 horn that horn scores a whopping 41. The other horn doesn’t look like much but puts the bull at 59 for score Any scrub bull scoring over 60 is a big scrub bull. So had this old fella not broken a horn he would be in the 80s!
Day 2 we went back to the scrub bull to take some photos and get the head for a European mount. We then went to check out grasshopper creek. We saw limpy on the way whos a 6yr old bull with a short right rear leg. He would score about 90 but he has sort of become a buddy of mine. Plus with his injury he doesn’t fight other buff and he has the lunar shape horns that score so well and I think in 2 more years he may crack 100 so I’ll let him grow for now. As we approached the waterhole there stood another good bull. I thought we might drive up to him and shoot him like we did the scrubber but that wasn’t going to happen as the bull started to move off I just chucked a u turn and drove to the opposite end of the waterhole where we parked to start our stalk on the bull. As we hunted down the edge of the waterhole we got into a mob of 20+ pigs. Joey couldn’t help himself not having taken a pig with a bow before. A big sow came past us at 40 yards. Joey shot her perfectly on the shoulder breaking the scapula getting lungs she didn’t go 20 yards. A few quick pics and we continued to look for the bull without luck. I decided to go to the bale stack by the cattle yards for a look. I climbed up saw a mob of 10 buff with a good mid 90s bull in the mob but the spotted a long bull closer and feeding in the scrub. We headed after the lone bull as we got into the open before we could cross it the bull stopped feeding and just moved through the scrub and into the open plain where he continues his feeding. We used the last little bit of scrub and a solo tree to close the gap to 135 yards. The wind was good and increasing but the bull fed broadside to us again. We needed him to feed away. We moved right to the solo tree and I hadn’t decided what our move was. I had not had a head on look at the bull but from the back his right horn the only horn I could see was pretty good I estimated it to be a low 90s model at a rough guess. Joey didn’t care he was happy with any representative bull. The bull seemed to feed heavily then turned away from us. I kicked my shoes off so did Joey and we cruised in fast on him. I ranged when I thought I was close enough, 39 yards. I asked Joey if he was happy there or wanted to try and close into 30. He said 40 was good as he had just shot his pig perfectly at that distance. Joey drew the bull turned quartering away slightly he released the arrow and it was not good. The impact was a good 18 inches to the right of where it needed to be. The bull took off running. I lined up his ass with the bead on the .416 and let him have it. He didn’t slow as my first round is a soft point I normally try to chest shoot when they stop this bull wasn’t stopping. I sent a second round which was a solid this time bang right up the clacker at about 200 yards. He felt that one he slowed but didn’t stop. I ran after him a good 150 200 yards later the bull stopped and turned back. I got a rest on a tree he was 200 yards but held his head low I didn’t have much to shoot at especially with open sights. I waited for the bull to turn as he did I fed him another 400grain solid and that rolled him. Joey was bummed with his shot but very pleased with the size of his bull. He’s an old giant scoring 99 with one horn 5 inches shorter then the other. And the king horn is broomed 2 inches at least. He’s a 110 class bull but 99 and character is perfectly ok with Joey! It was a good way to end the season despite the shot being off. That’s just buffalo hunting. Joeys bow that he uses in Canada tops out at 50lbs so he ended up using my 80lb Hoyt. I dialed back to 75 for him and he practiced all month with it but it’s still never easy shooting another guys bow. He did extremely well adapting and only needed the rifle assist on the buff the pig, dog and scrubber was all him!
Lmfao Bowonly!!! Yup that’s Deadly Dan! He was helping out guide the second week clients then hunted for a week himself! Top Bloke!
Thanks for following along this season guys!